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Leap to these arms, untalk'd of, and unseen!—
"Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night!" Next, recollecting that the night would seem short to her, she speaks of it as of a run-away, whose flight she would wish to retard, and whose eyes she would blind, lest they should make discoveries. The eyes of night are the stars, so called in A Midsummer-Night's Dream. Dr. Warburton has already proved that Shakspeare terms the night a run-away in The Merchant of Venice; and in the Fair Maid of the Exchange, 1607, it is spoken of under the same character :
“The night hath play'd the swift-foot run-away."
Romeo was not expected by Juliet till the sun was gone, and therefore it was of no consequence to her that any eyes should wink but those of the night; for, as Ben Jonson says in Sejanus, night hath many eyes,
Whereof, though most do sleepe, yet some are spies."
That seems not to be the optative adverb utinam, but the pronoun ista. These lines contain no wish, but a reason for Juliet's preceding wish for the approach of cloudy night; for in such a night there may be no star-light to discover our stolen pleasures : That run-away eyes may wink, and Romeo
'Leap to these arms, untalk'd of, and unseen."
A great deal of ingenious criticism has been expended in endeavouring to ascertain the meaning of this expression. Dr. Warburton thought the run-away in question was the sun; but Mr. Heath has most completely disproved this opinion. Mr. Steevens considers the passage as extremely elliptical, and regards the night as the run-away; making Juliet wish that its eyes, the stars, might retire to prevent discovery. Mr. Justice Blackstone can perceive nothing optative in the lines, but simply a reason for Juliet's wish for a cloudy night; yet according to this construction of the passage, the grammar of it is not very easily to be discovered.
Whoever attentively reads over Juliet's speech, will be inclined to think, or even be altogether satisfied, that the whole tenor of it is optative. With respect to the calling night a runaway, one might surely ask how it can possibly be so termed in an abstract point of view? Is it a greater fugitive than the morning, the noon, or the evening? Mr. Steevens lays great stress on Shakspeare's having before called the night a run-away in The Merchant of Venice:
By their own beauties: or, if love be blind,
"For the close night doth play the run-away;
But there it was already far advanced, and might therefore with great propriety be said to play the run-away; here it was not begun. The same remark will apply to the other passage cited by Mr. Steevens from The Fair Maid of the Exchange. Where then is this run-away to be found? or can it be Juliet herself? She who had just been secretly married to the enemy of her parents might with some propriety be termed a run-away from her duty; but she had not abandoned her native pudency. She therefore invokes the night to veil those rites which she was about to perform, and to bring her Romeo to her arms in darkness and in silence. The lines that immediately follow may be thought to favour this interpretation; and the whole scene may possibly bring to the reader's recollection an interesting part in the beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche. DOUCE.
8 Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties:] So, in Marlowe's Hero and Leander : dark night is Cupid's day."
The quartos 1599 and 1609, and the folio, read—And by their own beauties. In the text the undated quarto has been followed. MALONE. Milton, in his Comus, might here have been indebted to Shakspeare:
"Virtue could see to do what virtue would,
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon "Were in the flat sea sunk."
9 Come, CIVIL night,] Civil is grave, decently solemn. JOHNSON. So, in our poet's Lover's Complaint:
my white stole of chastity I daff'd,
"Shook off my sober guards and civil fears." So, in Any Thing for a Quiet Life, 1618: "Enter Lady Crossingham, in a civil habit; Saunders and Children very gallant." MALone.
UNMANN'D blood -] Blood yet unacquainted with man.
"Hood my unmann'd blood bating in my cheeks." These are terms of falconry. An unmanned hawk is one that is not brought
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold 2,
Think true love acted, simple modesty.
Come, night!-Come, Romeo! come thou day in night!
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Give me my Romeo: and, when he shall die,
to endure company. Bating, is fluttering with the wings as striving to fly away. So, in Ben Jonson's Sad Shepherd: "A hawk yet half so haggard and unmann'd."
Again, in an old ballad intitled, Prettie Comparisons Wittily Grounded, &c. :
"Or like a hawk that's never man'd,
Again, in The Booke of Hawkyng, &c. bl. 1. no date: "It is called bating, for she bateth with herselfe most often_causelesse." STEEVENS.
GROWN bold,] This is Mr. Rowe's emendation. The old copies for grown have grow. MALONE.
3 Whiter than new snow UPON a raven's back.] So the quarto 1599, and the folio. The line is not in the first quarto. The editor of the second folio, for the sake of the metre, reads-on a raven's back; and so, many of the modern editors. MALONE.
I profess myself to be still one of this peccant fraternity. STEEVENS.
Wherever the old copy is adhered to, notwithstanding Mr. Steevens's objections on the score of metre, let it suffice to say, once for all, to prevent the necessity of perpetual contest, that the reasons will be found assigned in the Essay on Shakspeare's Versification. BOSWELL.
4 black-brow'd night,] So, in King John:
'Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night."
when He shall die,] This emendation is drawn from the undated quarto. The quartos of 1599, 1609, and the folio, read -when I shall die. MALONE.
6 Take him and cut him out in little stars, &c.] The same childish thought occurs in The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll, which was acted before the year 1596:
And he will make the face of heaven so fine,
To an impatient child that hath new robes,
Enter Nurse, with Cords'.
And she brings news; and ev'ry tongue, that speaks
"The glorious parts of faire Lucilia,
"Take them and joine them in the heavenly spheres ;
"For lovers to adore and wonder at." STeevens.
the GARISH Sun.] Milton had this speech in his thoughts when he wrote Il Penseroso :
"Thou sober-suited matron." Shakspeare.
"Till civil-suited morn appear." Milton.
Pay no worship to the garish sun." Shakspeare.
"Hide me from day's garish eye." Milton. JOHNSON.
Garish is gaudy, showy. So, in King Richard III. :
"A dream of what thou wast, a garish flag."
Again, in Marlowe's Edward II. 1598:
march'd like players
"With garish robes."
It sometimes signifies wild, flighty. So, in the following instance: "starting up and garishly staring about, especially on the face of Eliosto." Hinde's Eliosto Libidinoso, 1606.
8 I have bought THE MANSION OF A LOVE,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
the strong base and building of my love
Is as the very center to the earth,
'Drawing all things to it." MAlone.
9 This whole scene, as Mr. Steevens observed, is materially altered from the first quarto, where it is thus given :
“Enter Nurse wringing her hands, with the ladder of cords in herlap.
"Jul. But how now, nurse? O lord, why look'st thou sad? "What hast thou there? the cords?
But Romeo's name, speaks heavenly eloquence.Now, nurse, what news? What hast thou there, the cords,
"Nurse. Aye, aye, the cords: alack, we are undone ! "We are undone, lady, we are undone !—
"Jul. What devil art thou that torments me thus ? "Nurse. Alack the day!-he's dead, he's dead, he's dead! "Jul. This torture should be roar'd in dismal hell. "Can heavens be so envious?
"Nurse. Romeo can, if heavens cannot.
"Jul. Ah, Romeo, Romeo, what disaster hap
"Nurse. O Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had!
"Jul. What storm is this, that blows so contrary?
"Nurse. Tybalt is dead, and Romeo banished;
"Jul. Ah heavens!-did Romeo's handshed Tybalt's blood?
"Jul. O serpent's hate, hid with a flow'ring face!
"Nurse. There is no truth, no faith, no honesty in men ;
"Jul. A blister on that tongue! he was not born to shame : "Upon his face, shame is asham'd to sit.
"But wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin ?
"Worse than his death, which fain I would forget: